Anyone in the IT business – or in business in general – can take a lesson from Puryear IT CEO Dustin Puryear, who recently sized-up his time as an IT leader and entrepreneur extraordinaire. Starting out as “an IT geek,” moving to an independent IT consultant, then to a lead consultant and, ultimately, a fully-fledged CEO, Puryear ran the gamut of everything one could be in the IT world – but found room for improvement even so.
He speaks of looking in the mirror and “firing” himself, citing the fact that the company (his own) had moved faster than he personally could adjust. It was actually the second time he did that, finding it to be a healthy thing that allowed room for growth and improvement over accepting the status quo and coasting along on one’s own laurels.
This, despite the fact that he had transitioned from IT geek to “Does Everything CEO,” and, with a sharp focus on marketing and sales, nearly doubled his firm’s revenue in one year. As he relates, his team grew, their customer base expanded, and things changed for the better. Except for the fact, he notes, that he hadn’t changed with it. “I was still trying to run the company like a micro-business,” he remarks.
He cites Business Coaching guru Michael Gerber’s “The E-Myth” when sizing himself up as a does-it-all enterpriser, and perhaps holds himself to a tall yardstick of standards and criteria when it comes to satisfaction in the world of business. Dustin’s philosophy seems to be a perpetual, “We can do better,” and like Gerber’s business owner in The E-Myth series, he perhaps took his role as “Chief Problem Solver” far too seriously.
His philosophy seems to also be, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” That’s a lot to take on as just one person, but Dustin’s persistence is also one of his strong suits. But, it wasn’t enough to stop the inevitable: He knew his venture was in trouble, and needed one of four options to keep it afloat. Those four options were:
- Watch the company crash and burn
- Sell the company and let it become somebody else’s problem
- Shrink the enterprise to a more manageable level
- Adapt the company into a new type of company rather than let it adapt him
In his journey through the many business roles he was taking on, Dustin realized he had misunderstood the true purposes of some of them, such as that of CFO. As an EO Accelerator participant, he conferred with colleagues who were using an outsourced CFO, with whom he met, and who turned his head around with some innovative accounting practices. The financial tutelage helped him increase his company’s profit margin by several points, which he used to bring on said CFO in his place. He had let himself go as CFO, allowed an outsider’s ideas propel his business, and had taken it all in stride, focused on streamlining his business (not on ego or outdoing his competitors), and ultimately saw the wisdom in collaborative practices at the executive level.
As of this month, October 2016, Dustin is still CEO and CIO of Puryear IT of Baton Rouge, LA, as well as Vice President of Sales, Account Management, and IT MSP automation. He jokes that it may be time to pink-slip himself again, but as an award-winning, “cloud-centric” IT provider that takes strategic development and advanced IT solutions to their fullest potential and application, he may not have the time to.